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Hundreds of tenants in Barrington Plaza fight against evictions

Hundreds of tenants who live in a high-rise in West Los Angeles have taken their landlord to court to try and prevent mass evictions. 

With over 700 units, Barrington Plaza was once described as the largest privately built apartment complex in the western United States. 

Now, the residents are making a last stand to stay in the high-rise as they face evictions. 

“People that have been here for 30 plus years and who don’t have a family, they don’t have anywhere else to go,” Cheryl Clark, a Barrington Plaza resident, said. 

The landlord of Barrington Plaza says the evictions are necessary to modernize the 1962 complex—including fire safety upgrades after two fires—one of them fatal.

“If they get away with this, every single tenant of a rent-controlled building will be at risk,” Larry Gross, executive director for the coalition for economic survival, said. 

Now a trial is underway in Santa Monica to decide one of the mass eviction cases in California history.

“We know we are setting a precedent for other renters around the city and the state,” Miki Goral, a Barrington Plaza resident, said. 

It centers around the Ellis Act, a California law that allows landlords to evict tenants if they are exiting the business.

“The evidence is going to show that virtually since the fire in 2020, they’ve been planning to re-rent, and they always plan to re-rent, and they will continue to plan to re-rent Barrington Plaza. In our view, that’s not what the Ellis Act allows,” Frances Campbell, an attorney for the Barrington Plaza tenant association, said.

A representative for the landlord, Douglas Emmett, told NBC4 they would not be doing on camera interviews. Now the residents of Barrington Plaza await their fate.

“We know that it’s just not the 770 units here but it’s bigger than us,” Jacqui Fournier, a Barrington Plaza resident, said. 

While the trial is just getting started, the Los Angeles City Council took up a motion on Wednesday to ensure that tenants receive maximum protections when faced with evictions by the Ellis Act.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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